Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Caps Taking Game Three Seriously

If you have not seen the last two games between the Capitals and Penguins, you certainly would not know the Caps were up 2 games in the series by the way they acted at Kettler yesterday.

"I hope we're not going to be lulled into a false sense of security because we haven't really played well," Caps' defenseman Brian Pothier said. "We've had timely goals and great goaltending, but as a team I don't think we've played nearly as well as we can."

The Capitals have had their fair share of scary moments in their own zone with the Penguins pressuring. But they have had plenty of help off of Alex Ovechkin's stick and a rookie goaltender. The call to play better can be heard from the head coach Bruce Boudreau down through the ranks. The Caps feel they are capable to play better and have been lucky thus far.

"When you are playing good teams with a lot of character like Pittsburgh it doesn't get any easier." Boudreau cautioned. "If this was a game of tennis, we've held serve."

They have also have had a hard time staying out of the penalty box. The Caps have been whistled for 5 minors in game one, and seven minors in game two. Seven penalties total in the first period in both games.

But the bright spot for the Capitals of late has been their play on the road. Once a concern earlier in the season, they have simplified their game in a different barn and come away with a win. They will have to keep their focus and keep up their winning ways.

But the Caps have to be able to contain the only scorer in game two for the Penguins, Sidney Crosby.

"We can be more cognizant of where he is," Boudreau said. "That's what we can do, but if he wants to go there, short of taking a penalty every time, he's going to go there."

All three of Sid's goals in game two were down low and in tight to the net. A contrast to Ovechkin's tallies that were 10 to 15 feet out and were great shots that beat Marc-Andre Fleury. But the Pens remained frustrated as they have played well, but have nothing really to show for it.

"I'm sure Pittsburgh's a little frustrated by that," Pothier said. "They have been playing pretty well but they haven't been able to score, We cannot think for a second that we've been dominating the series or anything. We need to play a much better game."

Caps Notes:
  • According to Tarik on his blog, the league will not suspend Chris Kunitz for his cross check to the neck of Semyon Varlamov late in the third. However, he will be fined. The only quote offered about the hit came from Dan Bylsma:
    "Chris is going to the net trying to create a loose puck and jam home a rebound, We have no other intention than that. For me, it was a battle and he was in there tight and making contact with the goalie."
  • Fleury was asked if Ovechkin is playing with an illegal stick. "I don't know," he responded. "Haven't really taken a look at it. The puck kind of sticks to it pretty good." When asked if he would be surprised if he was using one Fleury responded with a "No."
  • Eric Fehr is questionable for game three as he was hurt in the first period after getting hit by Ruslan Fedotenko. He only played three shifts in game two. No word if they will recall a player or if Micheal Nylander will get a game sweater.
  • The Penguins are whining about picks. They claim that the Capitals are making illegal picks and interfering with defenders to get players open. I guess that is better than saying "We blew the coverage."

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